Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hunting for Cherry Peppers

What drew me to this recipe was the hot Cherry Peppers - a favorite treat of mine ever since we discovered the sausage and cherry pepper pizza at La Fiamma's woodburning oven pizza place in Bellingham, Washington. Unfortunately, I had to go to two different stores, and then called four more before I finally found the darn things and I do not even consider Cherry Peppers that exotic of an ingredient. It is a continuous gripe that I have about grocery shopping here. You would think that in this massive metropolitan you would be able to get just about any specialty food item that you could possibly think of, but it is actually a lot more difficult that you realize. Because real estate is so expensive, and the city is so crowded, though there may be 10 different grocery stores in a one mile radius, they are all tiny (by Washington suburbia standards) and packed onto little lots so that they do not have room to stock as much as I am used to. I tried Trader Joe's, two different Ralph's grocery stores, Whole Foods Market, and even the Armenian Market and Deli before I finally found these beloved peppers at Gelson's Market on Riverside in Sherman Oaks. The guy on the phone was pretty surprised when I started whooping and cheering on the phone in response to his verification that they did carry them. After all, for a few short hours there, I thought I was going to have to live a cherry pepperless life until we migrated from California some day.

Despite the secret ingredient, the recipe really was not spicy. All of the veggies and peppers cooked down and caramelized into a really hearty meal. The chicken thighs were also a nice change from normal chicken breasts. Don was quite impressed with the meal and said it really hit the spot after a very long and stressful day. This recipe is going to be filed under easy weeknight comfort food in our household. You can find it courtesy of Real Simple Magazine on

Chicken Thighs Braised in Garlic and White Wine


2 teaspoons dried oregano
Kosher salt and pepper
8 small chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 small yellow onions, quartered
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 jarred hot cherry peppers, seeded and roughly chopped, plus 3 tablespoons of the brine
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup long-grain white rice


In a small bowl, combine the oregano, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, season with the spice mixture, and dredge in the flour.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat and brown the chicken, 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Add the onions to the pot and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cherry peppers and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the pepper brine, wine, and broth and bring to a boil. Return the chicken to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the rice according to the package directions. Divide among individual bowls and spoon the chicken and sauce over it.


Makes 4 servings

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 675(37% from fat); FAT 28g ; SUGAR 5g; PROTEIN 31g; CHOLESTEROL 113mg; SODIUM 960mg; FIBER 2g; CARBOHYDRATE 64g

Kate Merker , Real Simple, SEPTEMBER 2007

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